Lyle Hollinger, 94, of Gravenhurst, passed away peacefully on Friday, November 17, 2023, at home surrounded by his wife and daughters.
Lyle was born in Clifford, Ontario (Minto Township) to Daniel and Clara (nee Werner) Hollinger. The eighth of nine children, Lyle shared many stories of his youth, including tales of attending a one-room schoolhouse (Greenbush #8) helping to wire the farmhouse for electrical service and disassembling the family gramophone.
Lyle craved adventure and left the family farm to become a pilot, completing his flight training at Kitchener-Waterloo airport. Throughout his 60+ years of flying, Lyle flew around the world seven times. Employed by Kenting Aviation, Lyle performed aerial survey in the Canadian Arctic, Guyana, Borneo, Venezuela, Pakistan, Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and Portuguese Timor. The Lockheed Hudson aircraft he flew during this time is displayed at the North Atlantic Aviation Museum in Gander, Newfoundland.
Beloved husband of Rose Marie Hollinger (nee Knappett) they were married for 58 years and had two daughters. After meeting in 1960 on a blind date in Toronto, they were married in King City, ON on November 12, 1965, and settled in Weston, ON. During this time, Lyle built the cottage on 'Lyle's Isle' on the Severn River near Gravenhurst, and flew Alcan employees for Timmins Aviation/Atlantic Aviation in Toronto.
In August 1966 they relocated to Dollard-Des-Ormeaux, QC and Lyle began flying Alcan's corporate jet, a Hawker Siddeley DH125 (CF-ALC) for Atlantic Aviation/Innotech Aviation based in Dorval, QC. Lyle was instrumental in the creation of the Alcan Flight Department in 1984, with Lyle appointed as Chief Pilot, and included office staff, 2 full-time/numerous part-time pilots and 3 corporate jets (CF-ALC, CF-AAL, CF-AAU.) As the busiest corporate flight department in Canada, the Alcan Flight Department was awarded by Canadair (manufacturer of Challenger 601 CF-AAL) for achieving the highest annual flight time for a Challenger 601.
Lovingly remembered as fiercely independent, Lyle pursued many creative challenges, including building 2 aircraft in the garage/basement of the family home and many cottage projects including the 'Armstrong Barge.' Lyle enjoyed maintaining and flying his aircraft (Piper PA20 CF-GVD and Cessna 172 CF-OUL) and was a member of EAA (Experimental Aircraft Association) and COPA (Canadian Owners and Pilots Association.) For his 81st birthday, Lyle took his love of flying to new heights by completing his first skydive.
In 1992, Lyle and Rose Marie retired to enjoy summers at the cottage and winters in Englewood, FLA. Lyle was a devoted Toronto Maple Leafs and Blue Jays fan, and an avid golfer, playing 18 holes twice a week well into his 80's. Their winters in Englewood were very happy times spent with family and special friends.
Lyle will be dearly missed and is survived by his wife Rose Marie, daughters Susan (Jim Sorokan) of Bolton and Diane (David Fabbro) of Calgary, and grandchildren Stephanie, Lucas, Eric, Sloane, Andrew Lyle, and Jonathan. He is fondly remembered by his many nieces, nephews and friends.
Lyle was predeceased by his parents Daniel and Clara Hollinger and siblings Florence Lewis, Verna Lackie, Dorothy Kaufman, Ruth Leasa, Rita Ensinger, Roy Hollinger, Joyce Hollinger and Shirley Freeman.
The family extends many thanks to Chris Tasca and the Community Paramedicine team for their care and support. A private family service was held on Saturday, November 18, 2023, at Cavill-Turner Funeral Home in Gravenhurst prior to cremation. A Celebration of Life is planned for Spring 2024. As an expression of sympathy, donations to the South Muskoka Hospital Foundation (https://www.healthmuskoka.ca/donate/)would be appreciated by the family.